The industrial revolution has been closely associated with an age of possibility, technology and innovation. It has, however, also become synonymous with human-made CO2 emissions and thereby the current climate crisis. Not without reason is the time preceding the industrial revolution the reference point for CO2 levels and associated rises in temperature.
Last month, the Prime Minister of the UK presented his vision for the future of the UK industry through the ‘Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution’. The plan sent an important signal at a time of widespread economic uncertainty by ramping up ambition around crucial climate tools including renewables, efficiency, hydrogen and CCS.
As a statement of government’s ambition, the 10-point plan outlined the important areas where we now need to see action. The announced commitment of £1bn for CCUS and targets for 2030 for CO2 storage of 10mtpa and low-carbon hydrogen production of 5GW represent some of the most ambitious climate goals for industry. That these climate solutions, due to their complementarity, are an absolute imperative not just for industry but for a net-zero economy as a whole was reinforced in the UK Committee on Climate Change’s 6th Carbon Budget that was published in December 2020. Yet, there remains the question if these targets will be sufficient to set the UK on a path to reach net-zero.
More importantly, it is now essential to move quickly beyond this vision for a future UK economy and follow up with its implementation. In this Policy Brief, Bellona outlines what we consider six areas key to enabling a just, equitable and effective transition to a net-zero industry. Crucially, it needs to be ensured that the government’s current goal to ‘build back better’ fulfils the ambition of building back greener.